Preview: Top 10 Showdown In Fairlea On Tap For This Friday Night

If the rain holds off this Friday night, October 29, Spartan Stadium in Fairlea will be the place to be when the 9th ranked Greenbrier East Spartans (6-2) host the 7th ranked Princeton Tigers.

Princeton is 5-1 on the season with their lone loss coming last Friday night against unbeaten Bridgeport.

The Tigers are led by quarterback Grant Cochran. Cochran is one of the elite throwers in the entire state. Last season against the Spartans, a 56-14 Princeton win, he threw for 336 yards and five touchdowns.

Cochran is still having a big time season, but he lost some weapons from last year’s team and that has hindered him and kept him a little more under control for opposing defenses. For instance, against Bridgeport Cochran was just 10-for-27 passing for 141 yards. He threw one touchdown pass. Bridgeport ran the ball effectively and basically kept the Tigers offense on the sideline so when he did hit the field, Cochran rushed things and became impatient.

Princeton has faced two common opponents of the Spartans—Oak Hill and Woodrow Wilson. They defeated Oak Hill 55-30 as Cochran passed for 293 yards and two TD’s on 19-23. They defeated Woodrow 21-14 in what was a surprisingly close game. In that one, Tigers running back Brodee Rice ran for 141 yards and two scores proving there is more to the offense than just their junior signal caller. Princeton also features receivers Jon Wellman and Peyton Clemons. Dominick Collins is also a threat on both sides of the football.

The Tigers average 29.6 points per game and allow 24.

The Spartans come in riding a two-game winning streak and their confidence is at an all-time high.

Ian Cline has led East the last two weeks with record breaking, historic numbers. Two weeks ago, he ran for 284 yards and four TD’s in a win over Ripley which put him in third place all-time in school history for rushing yards in a game. Then the following week, Cline ran for 357 yards and five scores against Hampshire and cemented himself into first place in school history for rushing yards. He has been on an absolute tear and now has 1,277 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Cline is a huge success, but his numbers have been helped along by the offensive line. The horses up front are blocking anything and everything in front of them and will need another big effort against the Tigers.

The Spartan defense will need to be on high alert, especially the secondary. Levi Wagner, Bryson Ormsbee, Ethan Holliday and Jake Pate will have plenty of opportunities for interceptions and pass deflections. Wagner leads the group with four interceptions this year.

East’s defense has been pretty stout this year and are only giving up 16 points per game to their opponents.

As of this writing, it is still under review if coach Ray Lee will coach in this contest. Lee was ejected in the Hampshire win in the third quarter and it has been a topic of conversation since.

If Lee is unable to be present, Aaron Baker will take the reigns. It is a situation to keep an eye on due to the magnitude of this game.

Both teams have had great years, but the Spartans have more momentum right now and revenge on their minds after the shellacking they took last season. Princeton’s big loss to Bridgeport cannot be overlooked, but the Indians are also a top five team so that score is more indicative of how good Bridgeport truly is. If the Spartans can stop Cochran from throwing it all over the field and keep Rice in check, they will have a great chance to improve to 7-2.

The weather could also be a major factor in the outcome. If the rain falls, which has a 90 percent chance of happening, the advantage goes to Cline and the Spartans as Cochran’s arm is suddenly not as big of a threat. Also, East quarterback Monquelle Davis can run the ball where Cochran is strictly a passer. This one should be fun and just might come down to a game winning Noah Dotson field goal.


Greenbrier East-27

Princeton- 26


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